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Staring Kid

"He [Big Bird] can't get the courage to even start skating, at which point this little girl stares at him. Just stares. Stares at the sad, hollow shell of a bird he's become."
Obscurus Lupa, reviewing Christmas Eve on Sesame Street

Something unusual happens, and the camera pans out, revealing a small child staring intently at the subject in blank amazement. The context of this can vary widely. In romantic comedies, the staring children will be present any time the main couple argue or have an awkward romantic moment. In action movies, they can show up anytime something explodes or the hero does something cool. This can be Played for Laughs by highlighting the absurdity of the moment, or Played for Drama to emphasize the horror of the event. Bonus Points if accompanied by a "What are you looking at, kid?" or a dropped ice cream cone.

Using one of these is a good way to toy with breaking The Masquerade, since a child who reports seeing an unusual event may not be believed by adults.

If the child's staring is just a little too eerie for comfort, then it's a Creepy Child. May overlap with Deer in the Headlights and Things That Go Bump in the Night. Related to Innocent Bystander.

Examples:

Anime & Manga
  • Erza gets a whole group of them in Fairy Tail when she accidentally breaks into a men's public bath, complete with Corner of Woe.
    • In the manga, all the grown-up men are terrified and cover up with towels or steam, while a young boy with wide eyes just stares at her curiously and doesn't care to cover up.
  • In Lovely Complex, Otani gathers a small crowd of these after making a scene during the Beach Episode.
  • The kids watching Yukiho dig a hole in the sand in the anime adaptation of THE iDOLM@STER

Film
  • The kid on the tricycle from The Incredibles. After seeing Mr. Incredible lift his car in a fit of rage, he starts regularly coming to the Incredible family's driveway in hopes of seeing such feats again. He's there to witness the family defeat Syndrome and have their house blown up.
    Staring Kid: THAT WAS TOTALLY WICKED!!!
  • In Innerspace, a child stares at Mr Igoe after he shoots a scientist with his gun hand.
  • There's a little kid in Bad Teacher that sits there with his jaw hanging open in two scenes.
  • In the first Transformers movie, a little girl sees Ironhide in her pool. Another kid later witnesses the fight between Optimus and Bonecrusher.
  • In Up a kid sees the house fly away.
  • In Finding Nemo, a kid in the dentist's waiting room reacts in horror at the commotion heard inside the office when Nemo escapes.
  • In the original Iron Man, when Tony takes the Mark II armor for a test flight, the first person to spot him is a gawking little boy on a ferris wheel who licks the ice cream right off his cone at the sight.
    • The little kid in Iron Man 2 who stands up to a runaway "Hammeroid" while wearing an Iron Man costume. The kid points his (fake) Repulsors at the behemoth, and it targets him as it would the real deal. Then the real Iron Man flies in, stands next to the kid and blasts it and flies away after offering a congratulatory "Nice work, kid!"
  • The first Spider-Man flick showed a kid gawking at falling debris while Spider-Man fought the Green Goblin. Spidey saved him right after shouting, "C'mon, move, kid!".
  • The boy on the beach stabbing the jellyfish in X-Men stares at the mutated Senator Kelly when he emerges from the water and his gill slits disappear into his back. Of course, nearly everyone else on the beach stares too (including Stan Lee in his usual cameo appearance).
  • The little girl at the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • The kid in The Lost World: Jurassic Park who sees a T-Rex in his window. "Mom, Dad, there's a T-rex in our backyard."
  • In the first Superman movie, a teenaged Clark Kent runs along side of a train- and keeps up with it. The only person who seems to notice is one little girl on the train. Her name just happens to be Lois....
  • Lilo & Stitch has an age inversion. Lilo (Who is a 6 year old girl) is hurrying to her hula class, trying to change into her costume on the run when a rather large adult (recent tourist, going by the farmer's tan) stares at her. For bonus points, he's carrying an ice cream cone. Lilo snaps a picture of him before she hurries on her way.

Live-Action TV
  • In Doctor Who, the TARDIS disappearing is sometimes accompanied by a child bystander looking on in awe, such as the group of children in "Closing Time".
  • Firefly: Jayne gets his own personal one in Jaynestown.
  • Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. Fringe. You could actually make a drinking game out of this if you watched only the teasers.
  • Used in the teaser of The X-Files episode "Fearful Symmetry."

Literature

Web Original

Western Animation
  • This kid was a recurring character in Megas XLR, standing around, drinking a Mega Slush or something, and proclaiming "cooooooool" at all the destruction going on in the episode.
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: When Octis changes his holographic face to avoid recognition by the police, a little kid standing next to him notices and tries to get his mom's attention, who brushes him off.
  • In a Dexter's Laboratory episode, Dexter gets a little girl stalker, who just stares at him all the time with huge eyes.
  • The Invader Zim episode "The Frycook What Came From All That Space" has a staring alien kid gawking in horror at all the bizarre stunts Zim gets up to. No one else notices, not even the kid's mom.

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